On the Occasion of Suzette's 50th Birthday Event


I have written out my remarks today, because I fear if I
stand up here and give an extemporaneous speech,
I may say something that would get me in a lot of trouble.
I'm probably going to be in enough trouble as it is
with what I've written here!

I didn't know what kind of introduction I would get,
so bear with me as I begin with ...

Hello! My name is Alan Cummings, better known as the
husband of Suzette Cummings. While I toil away on my
Nobel Prize in my office in Downs and only occasionally stumble across
other people going back and forth to Chandler dining hall, Suzette
is known by everybody on campus. I like my relative obscurity,
however, but I also won't mind if that all comes to
an end with a certain phone call from Sweden.

Suzette and I met on campus in 1973. It was not in Chandler,
but in the Business Services building. In those days I was
intimately involved with Graphic Arts, trying to get my thesis 
printed up. It was a story book romance, by anyone's definition.
We met on her birthday and had our first date on mine.
So I think it's appropriate that I say something
on this occasion.

We had a few dates and then I left for Canada for three
months to fly my experiment on a balloon. That experiment 
was launched but it came back in a body bag -- from Russia.
There was a failure in the cutdown mechanism (not my fault,
I can assure you!) and I wound up going to Moscow to retrieve
what was left of it after the Russians had managed to bring
it down. I did all that before we were married in October of 1973,
just 7 months after we met and after only a handful of dates.

The main reason we have survived after all these years is that
the very first thing we did was have the all-time worst
honeymoon in the histroy of the world. A Nobel Prize of 
honeymoons it was not. If Moses had witnessed
that honeymoon, he would have issued another commandment!
"Thou shalt not go to Mexico and go deep-sea fishing on
your honeymoon." I don't have the time nor the inclination
to give you all the details here and now, but if you're curious,
ask me sometime about the bouncing off the walls
after the medication was applied, the night in the hospital, 
the mice and the ants in the hospital, the IV,
the diesel truck fumes, and last but not least the
uncalled-for behavior of one very large Magnificent Frigate
bird! Oh yeah, and the amoebic dysentery -- don't forget
the amoebic dysentery!  

I know this gathering is about birthdays and not  
anniversaries, but having that honeymoon and staying together afterwards
(believe me, the word "annullment" flashed thru my mind more than once!),
meant that we could survive anything. So that's my recommendation
to young people: take a lousy honeymoon and see how you do. 

Sometimes you just know when something is right, especially if
there is a backup plan. With Suzette being a triplet, it was a no-brainer. 
There are two backups right there! It's a mystery to me why
she was still available when I opened that door in Building Services
25 years ago, but she was. And I am forever grateful for it. 
She was under self-imposed pressure to get married.
Her triplet sister Annette was already married. Her other
triplet sister Paulette was planning her wedding, 
and there I was opening the door for her. That was my lucky day!

Now so far, we've worked our way up from meeting to returning
from the honeymoon, a span of about 7 months,
and it's taken up a lot of time already. 
Time does not permit a full, exhaustive biography
of Suzette. It's an interesting story that needs to be told, however.
Someday, maybe I'll write it all down. 
The overturned catamaran in Barbados. The broken ribs in ...
Barbados, the broken arm in ... Barbados again!  Well, I see a whole chapter
on Barbados right there. And Barbados was the makeup trip
for the honeymoon for pity's sake!

Ah yes, the Lamaze class where the instructor ...
how shall I say it, broke wind in a demo
while lying flat on her back, 
the mixup of the babies in the hospital, the newly seeded lawn
that needed to be watered but couldn't because
giving birth in an actual hospital seemed to be more important,
and on and on and on. 

But this is not what Suzette intended for me to do today.
She thought I might write a poem, as I have done on certain
occasions before. So, I will close with a poem.
It's entitled "May Raindrops Version 2".
It's similar to the original "May Raindrops" that
I wrote a few years ago.

Now you might think that I'll be talking about
rain in the month of May, but no, it's a play on
words, as you shall see:

"May Raindrops Version 2" by Alan Cummings, 
Husband of the Famous Suzette Cummings

May raindrops never reside on the surface of your skin
May your umbrella never be flattened by the howling wind

May happiness infect your soul like a tenacious virus, never
 to leave or be driven out
May you never feel lonely or have any doubt

May tears of joy well up in your eyes and flow
 like tiny rivers down the contours of your face
May you never find yourself in a situation
 where you wished you had Mace 

May you, at some point, accept birdwatching as a viable pastime
May you always enjoy life and feel sublime 

May you never grow tired of hearing the phrase
 "chicken pot pie"
May it only be joy that makes you cry

May it be a long time before your teeth fall out of your gums
May you occasionally shop at Marshall's instead of Nordstrom's

May you never lose the sparkle in those beautiful eyes
May you find the cure for cancer and win your own Nobel Prize

May this year's camp be like a breath of fresh air
May it all go as planned once you get up there

May the words Mexico and Barbados not bring a chill to your spine
And make you break down uncontrollably and whimper and whine

May the sight of a Magnificent Frigate bird not cause you
 to break out your umbrella
To protect yourself from that big fella

May I, at some point in  my life, fulfill your dream
Of being able to go the drugstore and come back with the
 right under-eye cream

May you, in the unlikely event that I should ever snore,
Learn to like it and not kick me until I'm sore

May you never cease to be amazed by Iridium Flares.
May you always love me, even when my mustache
 turns bright white, not to mention my hair.

Well, the years come and go and now 50 has hit - kersplat
It's really really REALLY hard to believe that!

But may you always remember what I always say
You never look a day older on your birthday

And finally, may you always cherish the knot that we tied
Happy 50th birthday, Sweetness Personified!

Alan 3/10/99

  

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Last Date Revised: 3/12/99